We tend to buy based on the recommendations of close friends — and social media plays a critical role in this process. According to a recent survey by Market Force, 81% of consumers indicated that friends’ social media posts directly influenced their purchase decision. In looking at the various social networks, Pinterest is as popular as Twitter (and lags Facebook) yet it hasn’t around as long (according to Pew Research Center). On the flip side, Pinterest pins generate fewer subsequent page views and shorter timespans (according Copyblogger Media). And based on my analysis below, I’ve found that Pinterest also fails to refer local site traffic — the kind that brings recommendations from friends.
UPDATE: I recently spoke with Joel @Rapleaf and he clarified that the data that Rapleaf collects is not used to deny individuals credit. Instead the information is only used by the marketing departments to target potential customers (source).
While Twitter is free social media tool, there’s a price that one pays for tweeting. For example, there are plenty of good incidents caused by an embarrassing celebrity tweet (source). Aside from Hollywood celebrities, we’ve also had a local incident where a VP at the Atlanta PR firm Ketchum mistakenly used Twitter to exclaim that he “would die” if he had to live in Memphis while visiting his client, FedEx (source). This was a problem since Memphis is where FedEx is headquartered. Talk about a real Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment.
Until now, the price of tweeting was simply facing temporary ridicule and a small boo-boo to your online reputation. But that’s all changed now that data-mining firm Rapleaf announced that they collect data from Twitter to determine if you’re credit worthy demographics data in the public domain that’s exposed through social networking sites. According to an article in Fortune Magazine (source), the people that you “hang out” with can be used to determine if you’ll pay your bill on time. Yikes!
As a regular user of Twitter and Facebook, I’m less worried about what I say because I’m well aware that my statements are in the public domain. But, I’m reconsidering who I’m planning to follow or be-friend online. As a social networking contributor, you should consider whether you’re willing to allow a social networking site to expose that information to a search engine, like Google.
I guess that the quip “Be slow in choosing your friends” rings true.
There’s rarely a day that goes by where Microsoft and Google don’t challenge each other. They battle to control every aspect of our digital world, including email (hotmail vs. gmail), the browser (IE vs. Chrome), the desktop (Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs) and of course search (Microsoft Bing vs. Google Search). While Google has continued to gain ground on Microsoft, Yahoo and others, a new search competitor, albeit small, called Twitter has emerged.
Why Twitter? Well, besides serving as social networking tool for celebrities, Twitter also provides a stream of breaking news and real time events. For example, if I am looking to learn about the latest developments in SharePoint, I avoid the search engines because the news that I’ll read there will be at least 24 hours old. Instead, I search for tweets with SharePoint as a word or hashtag in Twitter. The search results present me with a quick list of the latest developments.
Both Microsoft and Google both recognize this deficiency but only Microsoft has first responded to this need. They beat Google to the punch with the recent announcement that tweets from Twitter will now be indexed and served up alongside Bing results (source). The meshing of Bing and Twitter is good for both tools/companies:
- Search engines have always had search for content on their own. They leveraged the spiders to crawl and index new content or asked website owners to submit XML sitemaps to uncover more content and links. But Twitter serves as a new source of link that can provider links to the freshest content around.
- Developers can create applications using the Twitter API so the idea of serving ads alongside tweets was a bit complex. By offering the data to search engines, Twitter has identified a revenue stream without having to depend on an ad-based revenue model.
- Data that Twitter collects (and I’ve got to imagine that they are collecting a ton of data) is only available for a limited amount of time (typically 7 – 14 days). Many developers have used this limitation to develop an app that persists the data for an extended period of time. But if Bing or Google starts storing that data, Developers could potentially turn to these search engines to mine Twitter data.
Microsoft seems to be trying to distinguish Bing as a leader in search engines. Bing has challenged Google on other fronts, including image search capabilities, where you see an endless set of results, and video search capabilities, where you can play a video without having to leave the results. With tweets alongside search results, Microsoft may be able to take more market share from Google. While a market share loss of may not seem to be much when Google still has a dominant position, it does translate to a greater loss when one considers that 97% of Google’s revenue is dependent on search.
NOTE: For now, you can search within the latest tweets using the new Bing Twitter engine (source).